GoldandBlack - Opponent View: Maryland
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Opponent View: Maryland

Mike Locksley talks Purdue...

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We caught up with Scott Greene of the Maryland Rivals site earlier this week to break down the Terrapins in advance of their trip to West Lafayette.

GoldandBlack.com: Can you talk about some of the things that have been clicking offensively for Maryland so far?

Greene: When you look at last Saturday’s game, a 48-7 win, it was a huge improvement from the week before in which they were shut out by Penn State. While they put up 48 points and the offense looks good (things change), (but) it's still kind of feast or famine. They had a stretch where they scored on three straight offensive plays, five plays, three scores, in a matter of three-and-a-half minutes in the second quarter. Then, you look at the start of the second half and Javon Leake (RB) takes a kickoff 100 yards and scores there. In the first offensive possession of the game for Maryland, you see Anthony McFarland (RB) go 80 yards for a score. So, there were a lot of things that went right, but it’s still kind of feast or famine.

Josh Jackson, the starting quarterback, went down late in second quarter. He has a high ankle sprain, according to head coach Michael Locksley. Tyrrell Pigrome came in and replaced him. I was actually very impressed. He seemed to go through his progressions. When the pocket broke down, he knew where to take off and where to go. Most importantly to me, he was able to sustain some drives. He had a 90-yard drive that led to a touchdown. I think that’s very important moving ahead.

GoldandBlack.com: Who do you think we’ll see at quarterback on Saturday?

Greene: It sounds like the injury to Jackson might not have been as bad as initially thought. With that said, with these high ankle sprains, they can be really tough to gauge. My guess is we will probably see Pigrome start on Saturday. (Since this interview, Pigrome was named the starter for Saturday.) That might change some things for what Purdue needs to do defensively as well.

GoldandBlack.com: What are some strengths and weaknesses of the Maryland defense?

Greene: When you look at the defense, I think the strengths are definitely probably the linebacking corps. I don’t think anyone saw that coming before the summer. You look at that group, they brought in two grad transfers on the outside (Shaq Smith from Clemson and Keandre Jones from Ohio State). I’m sure Purdue fans from a recruiting standpoint are familiar with Jones, who is from the Maryland area and played Ohio State. He was really just on special teams and didn’t play a lot of defense (at OSU). Smith, another five star (both Smith and Jones were five-star rated by Rivals), he was another special team player for Clemson. It was looking like he was going to start for Clemson this year, but decided he wanted to return home and play in front of his friends and family. Those two have been fantastic. Jones leads the team in stacks. You look at Smith, and he had a huge game against Rutgers. He was really plugging up holes and really making things difficult for that o-line and opening things up for some of the other linebackers. For the middle, you look at a guy like Ayinde Eley playing on the inside. He’s tremendous in coverage. He finally got his first interception of the season this past Saturday against Rutgers. He’s really good at covering the tight ends and he’s always in passing lanes. He’s the guy that can definitely cause some problems for the quarterback.

GoldandBlack.com: What are two or three keys for Maryland to beat Purdue?

Greene: I think one big key of every game so far is getting off to a fast start. When you look at Maryland, they’ve got off to quick starts against Howard, Syracuse and Rutgers and they blew all three of those teams out. You look at the Temple game and the Penn State game, and the first offensive possession of both of those games started with an interception. Things just seemed to snowball after that. From there, I think you really want to see the defense get after the quarterback. Now, they’re looking at how to back up themselves, (after a strong performance last week) and just kind of putting pressure on their quarterback and making sure that Maryland is able to score early and put some pressure on their defense.

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